Paul Hanlon backs Hibs team-mate Ryan Porteous to bounce back from Rangers red card
Hibs captain Paul Hanlon doesn’t believe his defensive colleague Ryan Porteous merited a red card for his challenge on Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo during Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Ibrox – but suggested the way games are refereed in 2021 meant it was always a stick-on sending-off.
The 22-year-old was dismissed by Nick Walsh for the second time in two years in a match between the two clubs after half an hour of the Scottish Premiership encounter with Jack Ross’ side leading 1-0 thanks to Kevin Nisbet’s eighth-minute opener.
Speaking afterwards Hanlon said: “I think he wins the ball. I’d run into the middle of the pitch and turned around and I thought he won the ball, but he did come in at a lot of speed.
"The way games are refereed now, we see the speed and reaction of the Rangers player, it’s a straight red.
“When you go in that fast in tackles, it gives that option to the referee. We’re disappointed for him, disappointed for us. It’s one we’ll take on the chin and move on.”
Hanlon was quick to praise the Scotland Under-21 internationalist for maturing in his performances.
“If we go back to his younger days a couple of years ago, he was doing two or three of those a game. He came in and wanted to make those big tackles,” Hanlon explained.
“He’s learnt the way referees work, and been clever in terms of picking and choosing when he makes big tackles. We all want to see them, fans love it, it’s part of the game, but it’s probably a bit more about learning how the game is refereed.
“I think he probably had a reputation, but I don’t think he has anymore. Especially this season, his performances have been top class.
"It’s all been about his defending and how good he’s been every week.”
The Easter Road skipper backed Porteous to emerge from the furore a better player, adding: “He’s gutted, but he’s probably feeling a wee bit hard done by.
"The referee’s angle is probably the one where it looks the best tackle which is frustrating. It’s one of those things. We dug really deep to try and get something from the game and it obviously wasn’t to be.
“We all have chats as a defensive unit, go over different aspects of the game. It’s about learning from your mistakes. He’s still young, so he’s got plenty of time to learn. He’ll be fine.”
Hibs held onto their slender advantage until the hour mark, when substitute Kemar Roofe headed in the equaliser and Alfredo Morelos grabbed the winner in a similar fashion 13 minutes from time. Hanlon was disappointed not to take something from the game as he insisted the performance had been good.
“It’s disappointing. We’re really gutted. We worked so hard in the game and started so well.
"We were aggressive, stealing the ball in good areas and hitting them on the break. We were looking strong at the back. We’re disappointed not to get anything from the game.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t hold on because 1-1 would have been a great result with ten men. To come away with nothing is bitterly disappointing for how much work we put into it.”